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This Week in Historic Alexandria – 9/17/2018 | News Release | City of Alexandria

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The Arrival of the Godspeed and Portside History

Join the Office of Historic Alexandria every Saturday from October 13-November 17 as we celebrate the opening of Interim King Street Park! Jamestown Settlement’s Godspeed, a re-creation of one of the three ships that brought America’s first permanent English colonists to Virginia in 1607 will be docked at the City of Alexandria Marina near the Torpedo Factory Art Center on October 12-16. The ship will be open for public tours as part of the Portside in Old Town Festival from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, October 12, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, October 13, and from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, October 14. Guests will be able to board the ship for free, but entry is first-come, first-served. For more information on the Godspeed, please visit here.

Enjoy hands-on activities, family-friendly exhibits, and historical reenactors of Alexandria’s maritime history even after the Godspeed sails from Alexandria. Every week, there will be a special addition to the program. Programming is weather dependent.

The 2019 Commemoration, American EvolutionTM, is a national observance of the 400th anniversary of key historical events that occurred in Virginia in 1619 and continue to influence America today. The 2019 Commemoration is a sub-agency of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, an educational institution of the Commonwealth of Virginia that administers Jamestown Settlement. The ship last visited Baltimore and Alexandria in mid-2006 as part of a six-city East Coast tour launching “America’s 400th Anniversary,” an 18-month series of events commemorating Jamestown’s founding in 1607. The ship subsequently visited Alexandria in 2008 and 2011.

For the latest Historic Alexandria related news and events, visit alexandriava.gov/Historic.

On September 19, 1953, the Federal government approved the transfer of lands at Jones Point to Alexandria and the National Park Service for public use.  The filled area adjacent to the Jones Point Lighthouse witnessed significant use decades earlier during World War I when the Virginia Shipbuilding Company began constructing major warships at the site. But the shipyard closed soon after the war ended and the land grew quiet until the early 1930s, when it was used as a Civilian Conservation Corps camp. Then, in 1933, an ambitious plan was unveiled by a local author to transform the former shipyard administration building and surrounding area into an unusual industrial attraction: the Children’s Toyland of America. Valerie McMahan purchased the site and announced the project to manufacture dolls, toys and books at the riverfront site in Alexandria, based on her popular book series, The Baseball Kids.

Concerned that many children had no place to pursue their sense of wonder — and that toys of the period were largely manufactured in Japan or Germany while Depression-era Americans went jobless — McMahan proposed to employ toymakers by the thousands at the Alexandria location. Within a year, new water mains, gas pipes and electricity were being laid at the site to service the necessary manufacturing processes. McMahan also let it be known that the new factory was to become the “children’s capitol of the nation,” and to that end she planned to erect a huge dome on top of the building, similar to that of the U.S. Capitol, where children and their parents would always be welcomed. Her extensive plans for the site included additional buildings for childhood displays, park areas and landscaping, and even a boat service connection with Washington, D.C.

The wistful plan for Alexandria’s Toyland was short-lived, however, running afoul of the Federal government’s plans for the area. In 1936 the U.S. Signal Corps established a communications center nearby, and in 1940, an executive order condemned the entire site for a secret government use.”

Victorian Apothecary Workshop

Saturday, October 6

1-3 p.m.

Lloyd House, 220 North Washington Street

Screen Shot 2018-09-17 at 3.07.22 PM.pngLearn about Victorian apothecaries and herbalism from The Schod Family Apothecary historic interpreters Kent and Melissa Schod and make your own herbal remedy. Admission includes a ticket to visit the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum at a later time. Advance purchase is required. Tickets may be purchased online at Alexandriava.gov/Shop.

eptember 22 and 23 Freedom House Museum Open

Freedom House Museum, 1315 Duke St.

1-5 p.m.

Experience a powerful exhibit in the basement of the building, which was once part of a larger complex used by the slave-trading firm Franklin and Armfield. Through first-person accounts of enslaved men and women and details from the business, encounter the harsh reality of the domestic slave trade and Alexandria’s role. For more information, please visit here.

Admission $5 per person.

September 22 Classic Car Show

Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum, 201 S. Washington St.

10a.m. – 1 p.m.

Co-sponsored by Packards Virginia and the Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum, the show will feature a variety of Packards ranging from the 1930s-1950s as well as other “orphan” vehicles that are invited to register as well. Orphan cars are any marque of vehicle built by an out-of-business manufacturer. Packards Virginia, chartered in 1976, is part of The Packard Club, itself founded in 1952. The Packard Club is dedicated to the advancement of the maintenance, preservation, authentic restoration and use of Packard motor vehicles. Packard was a luxury automobile manufactured in Detroit, Michigan, between 1899 and 1956. Free event. For more information, packardsva.org or call 703-424-5871.

September 22 The General’s Tour

Lee-Fendall House, 614 Oronoco St.

10-11:30 a.m.

This guided walking tour of Robert E. Lee sites in Alexandria’s Historic Old Town will address the complicated legacy of the Confederate general’s life in Alexandria, his hometown from the age of five. Tours will last approximately 90 minutes. Tickets are available from Eventbrite in advance for $10, or for $15 at the door. Tour space is limited, so the purchase of tickets in advance is highly recommended. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes and bring water. FREE for members.

September 22 Archaeology Workshop at Shuter’s Hill

Alexandria Archaeology Program

Shuter’s Hill at the George Washington Masonic Memorial

1:30 – 3 p.m.

What is so special about broken pottery? View different ceramics found at the Shuter’s Hill Site and find out how they lead to a better understanding of who was living there and what their lives were like. Participants will go on a tour of the site before sifting through excavated soil for artifacts. $10 per person. $10 donation and pre-registration is required, Alexandriava.gov/Shop.

September 23 Geek Tour – A Magical Apothecary

Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, 105-107 S. Fairfax St.

11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Learn about the muggle botanical science that inspired the potions and herbology of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, and make your own magical sleeping potion! Adults and children ages 8 and older welcome. Tour is from 11:00am to 12:00pm and costs $15 per person.  Advance purchase is recommended due to limited space; pre-order tickets online at Alexandriava.gov/Shop or by calling 703.746.3852.

September 26 Lecture- Harlem’s Rattlers and the Great War

Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum, 201 S. Washington St.

7:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.

New York University historian and author Jeffrey T. Sammons presents the tragic and heroic tale of the extraordinary African American 369th Infantry whose soldiers distinguished themselves fighting as part of the French Army during WWI. Professor Sammons will contextualize the highly charged and discriminatory social and political climate confronting the soldiers of the 369th and discuss the groundwork they helped to lay for the long black freedom struggle and the modern Civil Rights Movement.

Doors open at 7 pm and the program starts at 7:30 pm. For more information, please visit here.

September 28 Homeschool Day at the Lee-Fendall House

Lee-Fendall House, 614 Oronoco St.

10 a.m.-4 p.m.
The Lee-Fendall House welcomes homeschoolers for Homeschool Day. We will have interactive activities and learning opportunities for the whole family! Come discover how home life in America has changed over the past 200 years. Interactive stations in the house and garden will explore topics such as food, toys, and architecture. House tours will be offered at 11:00 AM, 12:00 PM, 1:00 PM, and 2:00 PM.Adults (18+) are $4, students (5-17) are $2, and children under 5 are free. Registration in advance through Eventbrite is encouraged due to limited capacity.

September 29 Open House at Shuter’s Hill

Alexandria Archaeology Program

Shuter’s Hill at the George Washington Masonic Memorial

11 a.m. – 2 p.m.


View the new discoveries made this year at Shuter’s Hill, an 18th century urban plantation located on the grounds of the George Washington Masonic National Memorial. Visit the site to learn more about the plantation outbuildings discovered this year, and get a chance to talk with city archaeologists. The family-friendly open house will be held at the top of the grassy hill behind the Masonic Memorial parking lot. Visitors arriving by car may park in the Masonic Memorial’s parking lot. Weather permitting. Free and open to the public. No registration required. For more information, visit www.alexandriava.gov/archaeology.

September 29 Mansion House Whiskey Tasting

Carlyle House Historic Park, Alexandria

6:30 -9 p.m.

Ages 21 and older, General Admission: $75 per person 36 and over, Young Professionals (ages 21-35): $35 a person

Join us for a unique and intimate evening with old friends and new as we taste extraordinary whiskeys paired with delectable food, harkening back to the days when the Mansion House Hotel stood on the property. This event includes an evening tour of the Carlyle House, 4 whiskeys, and heavy hors d’oeuvres by Society Fair and gelato by Old Town Dolci Gelati Cafe. Local historian, Rich Gillespie, will share stories of historic Virginia and guide you on your whiskey tasting journey. Tickets are available online until September 25th. Registration required, no refunds.


October 6 Civil War Artillery Day

Fort Ward Museum & Historic Site

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Reenactors from the 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery, a unit stationed at Fort Ward during the Civil War, present firing demonstrations, equipment displays, and camp life for artillerymen in the Defenses of Washington.  Free; program is weather dependent.

October 6 Family Dig Day

Alexandria Archaeology Program

Shuter’s Hill at the George Washington Masonic Memorial

1:30 – 3 p.m.

Assist Alexandria Archaeology at a public dig! The dig day includes an introduction to the history and archaeology of the Shuter’s Hill Site, a site tour, and the opportunity to sift through excavated soil and assist with artifact processing. $10 donation and pre-registration is required, Alexandriava.gov/Shop.

October 6 Victorian Apothecary Workshop

Lloyd House

1 to 3 p.m.

$15 per person

Learn about Victorian apothecaries and herbalism from The Schod Family Apothecary historic interpreters Kent and Melissa Schod and make your own herbal remedy. Admission includes a ticket to visit the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum at a later time. Advance purchase is required; pre-order tickets online at Alexandriava.gov/Shop or by calling 703.746.3852.

October 7 American Pharmacists Month Open House

Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum

1:00 – 4:45 p.m.

Free admission

In honor of American Pharmacists Month the Apothecary Museum will be free on Sunday, Oct. 7. Visitors may tour the museum on their own and talk with tour guides stationed throughout the museum. Special guests The Schod Family Apothecary will be demonstrating 19th century apothecary product making. Pre-registration not required.

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September 17 Alexandria-Dundee-Helsingborg Sister Cities Committee Meeting

City Hall, Sister Cities Room 1101, 301 King St.

7-9 p.m.

September 17 Public Records Advisory Commission Meeting

City Hall, Sister Cities Room 1101, 301 King St.

7:30-9:30 p.m.

September 18 Historic Alexandria Resources Commission Meeting

Lloyd House, 220 N. Washington St.

7-9 p.m.

September 19  Alexandria Archaeological Commission Meeting

Alexandria Archaeology Museum, 105 N. Union St., Suite #327

7–9 p.m.

Regular meeting

September 26 Alexandria Archaeology Ship Committee Meeting

Alexandria Archaeology Museum, 105 N. Union St., Suite #327

3:30-5 p.m.

Now on Exhibit – “John Rogers’ Civil War Statuary” Exhibit at Fort Ward Museum

Fort Ward Museum, 4301 West Braddock Rd.

John Rogers was noted for his popular plaster-cast statuary groups that adorned many middle-class Victorian parlors in 19th-century America.  In an age when most sculptors continued to produce idealized figures in the classical tradition commissioned by wealthy patrons, the honest realism of Rogers’ style and his goal to create modestly priced art that average people could afford earned him the title, “Artist of the Common People.”  The exhibit features fine examples of Rogers Groups from Fort Ward Museum’s collection, with some additions on loan from a private collection. Free! Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, please call 703.746.4848 or visit www.fortward.org.

Alexandrians Fight the Great War

The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum, 201 South Washington St.

This exhibition traces the experiences of local people during the first World War. The homes, hospitals, factories and shipyards of wartime Alexandria come back to life through the use of rare images, archival and modern-day video clips, quotes from participants, original objects including weapons, period music, and scale models. Open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays 1 to 5 p.m.   For more information call 703.746.4994, or visit www.alexandriahistory.org.

Before the Spirits are Swept Away: African American Historic Site Paintings

Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe St.

This exhibition, featuring Sherry Sanabria’s African American historic site paintings, is made possible by the Sanabria family, who generously donated her paintings to the Alexandria Black History Museum. These paintings are part of Sanabria’s “Sites of Conscience” series, which focus on African American heritage, prisons, concentration camps, and mental hospitals. The Sites of Conscience series takes viewers to places of horror, places of pain and suffering, places we want to forget, but never should.

Robert Sanabria, Sherry’s husband, feels this series “… demonstrates the widespread practice of bondage in the American South and the determination of the enslaved to survive and maintain their connection with their creator. It is especially fortuitous to have these works together where they will be valued and available for the appreciation of generations to come….”

Tuesday to Saturday: 10 a.m.- 4 p.m., Sunday and Monday: Closed. Free, but donations are appreciated. For more information, please call 703.746.4356.

Our Community in Miniature: The African American Dollhouses of Sharon Frazier and Linwood Smith.

Through September 30th

Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe St.

The Alexandria Black History Museum is pleased to host the third exhibition of their very popular 2008 show of African American dollhouses by Sharon J. Frazier and Linwood M. Smith. Twenty-six beautiful miniature buildings with furnished rooms comprise the exhibition and remind the viewers of the forgotten businesses and people important to Alexandria’s vitality and development. The exhibition also provides a look at African American culture and the important institutions that made African American families strong – family, church, and school.

Honoring Our Veterans Exhibit

Through Veterans Day

Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, 134 N. Royal St.

Included in museum admission – Adults: $5.00, Children (ages 5 -12): $3.00

Veterans and active duty military personnel are free.

In 1929, the newly formed American Legion Post 24 purchased the buildings now known as Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, restoring them in honor of World War I veterans.  As part of the World War I Centennial Commemoration, learn more about the American Legion’s history in Alexandria and how Post 24 and 129 contributed then and now to the City of Alexandria.  Whether it’s 1929 or 2018, home or abroad, these men and women embody the idea of service.

John L. Lewis: Public Figure, Private Man

Lee-Fendall House Museum, 614 Oronoco St.

This exhibit examines the life and legacy of John L. Lewis, one of America’s most powerful, innovative, and controversial labor leaders and the long-serving president of the United Mine Workers of America. Lewis lived in the Lee-Fendall House from 1937 until 1969, during the height of his career in the labor movement. Exhibit is free with museum admission.

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